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Hello, recently I've been playing with my German Shepherd and whenever the toy is free on the floor and I go for it and try to get it while she is trying to bite it, she growls.

Is this normal? How would I correct this situation? She recently just started all this a couple days ago.

Also, when we're playing with her, she seems to jump and snap at our hands, arms and ankles. I thought it was because she is still teething and she recently just grew her Adult teeth in the back so now I'm wondering is she just mouthing because she is hurting or just hyper? I gave her rawhide bones to chew on so I don't know if that's helping her teething.

She is 6 months old and has all her shots to date and yes we exercise daily for about 35 mins.
 

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Hello Roger

I am no expert but one thing I am sure of is adult teeth do not equal adult brain.

She is still a puppy and playing with you (and very probably testing you)
just like a puppy.

I tell mine that whatever she has it's mine and I will share if I choose. Of course there is lots of sharing because it's fun for both of us. I would remove the toy, wait a bit and replace it with another. Could be the wrong move though, there are lots of people here with far more experience than I have.

Might not be enough exercise for her either, 35 mins a day isn't very much. Variety is important too, same thing day after day is boring for us and boring for them.
 

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It is normal, but it is not acceptable. Two things: Quick jerky movements from your part trigger her prey drive and get her to want to lunge, jump snap at the toy that you are trying to snatch up from the ground before she nails your hand, and the same thing when you have the toy in your hand and you keep snatching it away because she is catching/biting you in her effort to get the toy. The growly behaviour is resource guarding, and also not acceptable. So to stop this, you have to be aware of how your energy and jerky, snatchy, quick movements triggers a reaction from her, and let her know that all resources are yours, and you allow her to play with YOUR toys.

So rehabilitation time for Roger and puppy! Teach her to sit and wait for the toy. At first, a mili-second of a sit and an instant of focus on you (not the toy) and you reward her by giving her the toy. Then gradually a bit more. It may take a while for her to get it, but keep at it. Teach the basics with food if she gets to amped up for a toy and can't concentrate. When she knows the routine well, then you can introduce the same exercise with a toy.

Now watch how YOU move and what energy you give out that triggers her prey drive and brings out that jumpy/bitey behaviour. If you are going to pick up a toy, don't snatch it up like you are trying to compete against her like it's a race as to who gets it first. Walk up like you own the world, own the house, own the toy (and except for the world, you do own everything in your house), and smoothly with confidence and no hesitation (and NO jerky movement), just bend down without even looking at her, pick it up and walk away.

She won't really change instantly when you start this. She will need to know a sit-stay command, and a leave it command. If she jumps and snatches or bites your hand, everything stops. Give a NO, turn your back walk away, put the toy away, fun is over.
For example, my dog brings me toys and pushes them into my hand to play with him. He will follow me around nosing the toy and looking at me hoping that I will play fetch or tug with him. After we are done, I take the toy, say "My ball" (or tug or whatever), and hold it up close to my body, or put it in my pocket, and he knows I've now taken possession of MY ball, and he'll saunter off to annoy my older dog or find a stick to chew on.

So in short -

- growling can be a play growl, or it can be resource guarding. If play growl, you can ignore it, but considering the context, I think it is more resource guarding. Introduce more obedience commands (at her age, a sit and a some focus is fine), before she gets ANYTHING! Food, toys, attention, petting, a walk. This sets her up to defer to you, and understand that you expect certain behaviours from her before she gets attention and fun. If you are not familiar with NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free), google it and implement the system into your daily routine.

- Watch YOUR energy, do not trigger her prey drive with jerky, quick movements when going for her toy. If she is jumping at your hand to get the toy. Keep your energy neutral, keep your hands quiet, get her to sit and focus, then throw the toy. Eventually she should be offering you a sit and the focus to get you to throw the toy for her without you even asking.

Also agree with Jenna - 35 minutes a day is not enough, no wonder she is all riled up and snapping. At that age you can walk her for miles!! Hiking, swimming, climbing! Classes to exercise her mind and teach her to behave. Great for bonding and teaching her to mind.
 

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Lol Castlemaid you can put into common sense words some of the stuff I can't

I am really getting heaps out of this forum and it will only benefit my darling girl


Somewhat embarassing but mine is a poo eater. So I hover with pick up bag when she is going. I tell her that is mine too lol


So do not love that at 6am!!!
 

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my dog will growl when we play tug. sometimes he'll bark
when we play tug but i think that means he wants me
to throw the tug. he'll drop the tug toy and bark if i don't throw it.
i throw the toy and he brings it back and the tug game starts
again. i never corrected him for growling and barking when we
play tug. i didn't know you should correct the barking and
growling when playing tug. my dog doesn't jump on me when playing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It is normal, but it is not acceptable. Two things: Quick jerky movements from your part trigger her prey drive and get her to want to lunge, jump snap at the toy that you are trying to snatch up from the ground before she nails your hand, and the same thing when you have the toy in your hand and you keep snatching it away because she is catching/biting you in her effort to get the toy. The growly behaviour is resource guarding, and also not acceptable. So to stop this, you have to be aware of how your energy and jerky, snatchy, quick movements triggers a reaction from her, and let her know that all resources are yours, and you allow her to play with YOUR toys.

So rehabilitation time for Roger and puppy! Teach her to sit and wait for the toy. At first, a mili-second of a sit and an instant of focus on you (not the toy) and you reward her by giving her the toy. Then gradually a bit more. It may take a while for her to get it, but keep at it. Teach the basics with food if she gets to amped up for a toy and can't concentrate. When she knows the routine well, then you can introduce the same exercise with a toy.

Now watch how YOU move and what energy you give out that triggers her prey drive and brings out that jumpy/bitey behaviour. If you are going to pick up a toy, don't snatch it up like you are trying to compete against her like it's a race as to who gets it first. Walk up like you own the world, own the house, own the toy (and except for the world, you do own everything in your house), and smoothly with confidence and no hesitation (and NO jerky movement), just bend down without even looking at her, pick it up and walk away.

She won't really change instantly when you start this. She will need to know a sit-stay command, and a leave it command. If she jumps and snatches or bites your hand, everything stops. Give a NO, turn your back walk away, put the toy away, fun is over.
For example, my dog brings me toys and pushes them into my hand to play with him. He will follow me around nosing the toy and looking at me hoping that I will play fetch or tug with him. After we are done, I take the toy, say "My ball" (or tug or whatever), and hold it up close to my body, or put it in my pocket, and he knows I've now taken possession of MY ball, and he'll saunter off to annoy my older dog or find a stick to chew on.

So in short -

- growling can be a play growl, or it can be resource guarding. If play growl, you can ignore it, but considering the context, I think it is more resource guarding. Introduce more obedience commands (at her age, a sit and a some focus is fine), before she gets ANYTHING! Food, toys, attention, petting, a walk. This sets her up to defer to you, and understand that you expect certain behaviours from her before she gets attention and fun. If you are not familiar with NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free), google it and implement the system into your daily routine.

- Watch YOUR energy, do not trigger her prey drive with jerky, quick movements when going for her toy. If she is jumping at your hand to get the toy. Keep your energy neutral, keep your hands quiet, get her to sit and focus, then throw the toy. Eventually she should be offering you a sit and the focus to get you to throw the toy for her without you even asking.

Also agree with Jenna - 35 minutes a day is not enough, no wonder she is all riled up and snapping. At that age you can walk her for miles!! Hiking, swimming, climbing! Classes to exercise her mind and teach her to behave. Great for bonding and teaching her to mind.
I understand what you are saying, I think what was triggering her prey drive was when me and my brother would be playing catch with the football and I would run left and right as if she would think we were the prey and she would be thinking the ball would be hers when we dropped it and she would go for it, thinking it is her toy. I would get one of her squeaky tennis ball toys and show her that this is HER toy and the football is mine. I know she is just a pup but I thought it was that she was trying to chase the ball as we threw it. It was almost like we were going to throw her a pass or something lol.

Any ways we gave her a great day of play today for her, we were at it for about a good two hours and right now as we speak she is crashed on her bed sleeping lol. She didn't growl as much as she did yesterday. What I would do is whenever we dropped the football I would tell her as soon as the growling starts I would say "knock it off" or "Quiet" and as that was done I would get her toy that I had in my pocket and squeak it to get her attention and she would immediately stop and focus on me and on the command sit I would just throw the ball and continue play with her.

Sorry for the long post...lol
 
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